Slaughter argues that the current model of giving users choice and control over their personal data, while important, isn’t working to stop data privacy and market competition abuse. Instead she wants businesses to stop excessively collecting and abusing consumer data in the first place, including through the use of dark patterns. And she points out the FTC doesn’t have to wait for Congress to act on this matter.
Speaking at the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)’s “Privacy and Antitrust: Integration Not Just Intersection” panel discussion in June, Slaughter said:
“I want to sound a note of caution around approaches that are centered around user control. I think transparency and control are important. I think it is really problematic to put the burden on consumers to work through the markets and the use of data, figure out who has their data, how it’s being used, make decisions … I think you end up with notice fatigue; I think you end up with decision fatigue; you get very abusive manipulation of dark patterns to push people into decisions.
“So I really worry about a framework that is built at all around the idea of control as the central tenant or the way we solve the problem. I’ll keep coming back to the notion of what instead we need to be focusing on is where is the burden on the firms to limit their collection in the first instance, prohibit their sharing, prohibit abusive use of data and I think that that’s where we need to be focused from a policy perspective.”
New FTC chair, Lina Khan, was sworn in on June 15, 2021, so we’ll watch this space.
In the meantime, we point to our complete privacy toolkit Sudo Platform as a way for businesses to be proactive about limiting the amount of customer data they collect and manage.
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Photo By Chinnapong